Nearly free from the regional trash authority known as MOSA, Otsego County lawmakers voted Wednesday to set the tipping fee at $65 per ton for solid waste brought to two transfer stations that will be operated by Casella Waste.
The county Board of Representatives’ Solid Waste and Environmental Affairs Committee had introduced a resolution calling for the tipping fee to be put at $57.
But Rep. Donald Lindberg, R-Worcester, led a charge to up the fee to $65, saying the lower rate was insufficient to cover the costs and would effectively create a subsidy for trash haulers from the $28 per household annual user fee.
Lindberg said Casella will be paid $49 for each ton of trash collected, plus almost $13 per ton for the operation and maintenance of the transfer stations that will now be separated from MOSA. On top of that, the county will have costs for maintaining closed landfills, a sum that comes to about $5 per ton, Lindberg said.
By going with a lower rate, Lindberg argued, “All you would be doing is giving the haulers a big subsidy and they would never give that money back to the people.”
Rep. Linda Rowinski, D-Oneonta, the chairwoman of the solid waste committee, said the lower rate had been recommended by the county’s solid waste consultant, Hans Arnold.
She said a higher fee could motivate haulers to take their waste outside the county, contending the sum pushed by Lindberg would amount to “shooting ourselves in the foot.”
But Lindberg’s proposal drew support from all of the board’s Republican members with the exception of Rep. Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, who joined Democrats in backing the Rowinski proposal. Rowinski put forward a revised proposal, calling for a $59 tip fee, but that was also rejected.
Lindberg said his long-range goal is to convince fellow board members to lower the $28 per household unit fee that is charged each year. The fee is higher for businesses, and is based on how much trash they generate each year. The fee covers the cost of operating recycling programs as well as the salary of County Planner Karen Sullivan and the annual hazardous waste collection day, Lindberg said.